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DATE=12/2/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=NORTHERN IRELAND HOME RULE(L) NUMBER=2-256648 BYLINE=LAURIE KASSMAN DATELINE=LONDON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Britain has officially transferred home rule powers to Northern Ireland. In the next step of the process, the Irish Republic in the south has revised its constitution to drop reference to any hostile claims to Ulster province. V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London that now it is up to the Irish Republican Army (I-R-A) to name its representative to cooperate with the special commission on disarmament. TEXT: Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has fulfilled his part of the peace deal for Northern Ireland with a signature on the revised constitution. The new text drops any hostile claims to the north. The act follows Britain's handover of home rule powers to Belfast. /// AHERN ACT /// We now have a framework within which profound differences can be accommodated on the basis of consent and growing friendship. We have lived for too long with the consequences of the failures of the past. We can now move into the new future, rich in the promise of peace, partnership and prosperity. /// END ACT /// Prime Minister Ahern also has signed the documents setting up six cross-border committees to deal with issues of mutual concern as outlined in the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement. Britain's Secretary for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, has called it the dawn of a new era for Northern Ireland. /// MANDELSON ACT /// All the people of this island have had a chance to express their view, to choose division or agreement. Overwhelmingly they chose agreement, consent and peace over division, coercion and violence. /// END ACT /// Mr. Mandelson has seen his duties sharply reduced now that responsibility for most of Northern Ireland's daily administration has been passed to the Belfast government. But Britain will retain direct control over taxation and security matters. /// REST OPT /// The next step of the carefully sequenced peace plan calls for the Irish Republican Army to name its representative who will work with the special disarmament commission. Paramilitaries are expected to hand over their weapons by May of next year, as required by the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement. The timing of the I-R-A disarmament had stalled the establishment of the all-party cabinet, which now includes two members of the I-R-A's political wing. The cabinet was officially set up on Monday, opening the way for the British parliament to transfer home rule powers to Belfast - ending 25 years of direct rule. The headline of the Irish Times Thursday summed up the buoyant mood on the island. It read simply: "Power to the People." (Signed) NEB/LMK/GE/gm 02-Dec-1999 07:00 AM EDT (02-Dec-1999 1200 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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